Ask an MBA Student

Our MBA students are the best resource when it comes to sharing their unique experiences at MIT Sloan. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to the current students who provided their contact information below. For admissions related questions, please email mbaadmissions@sloan.mit.edu. To learn more about our current students, see our Student Profiles page and follow our MIT Sloan Students Blog.

 

Ahmed Al-Bahar, MBA '16

ahmed.albahar@sloan.mit.edu

Citizenship: Kuwait
Recent Location: Chicago, IL
Undergraduate University: Florida International University 2009, University of Florida 2010
Degree and Major: BSc Mechanical Engineering, MSc Industrial and Systems Engineering

Pre-MBA Experiences
Technology Consultant for Accenture based out of the Chicago office for three and a half years serving clients in Houston and Chicago. I helped Oil Majors trade crude oil working on the market risk simulations desk and transitioned into a product management role in the SaaS (Software as a Service) practice for almost two years leading a team of developers to manage new features from ideation to deployment for stakeholders in the marketing and sales space.

Post-MBA Ambitions
I am interested in continuing to build my skill base as a product manager in the tech industry. I am looking into either working with a startup or joining a growth stage/established technology company. Geographically, I am primarily focused on working in the Gulf Middle East or U.S.

Interests/Hobbies
Reading books about human behavior with Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman as one of my favorites. I am also interested in cycling, powerlifting/weight lifting, volleyball, travel and all things related to coffee.

 

Mitesh Agrawal, MBA '15

mitesh.agrawal@sloan.mit.edu

Citizenship: India
Recent Location: Pune, India & Medellin, Colombia
Undergraduate University: IIT Madras, India
Degree and Major: B. Tech and M. Tech, Biotechnology

Pre-MBA Experiences
I started my career in management consulting at Deloitte. After that I moved on to provide consultancy to small-medium businesses and then joined a tech buyout private equity firm. Along with investing, I was heavily involved in supporting growth and operations of the portfolio companies. In the year prior to MIT Sloan, I founded a social enterprise focused on enhancing literacy in India using technology based solutions and made 500 people literate in a year’s time.

Post-MBA Ambitions
I wish to pursue a career in the pharma/ biotech industry where I can combine my technical knowledge and professional experience to create value. Alongside, I plan to participate in local community service work or movements targeted at reducing inequity in the world.

Summer 2014 Internship
This past summer, I helped one of the largest asset manager firm in South America create an equity investment strategy for a new mutual fund that they are planning to launch in the region.

Interests/Hobbies
Playing music, cooking, traveling and hiking. I am a member of the Healthcare club at MIT Sloan.

 

Hema Bajaj, MBA '15

hema.bajaj@sloan.mit.edu

Citizenship: United States
Recent Location: Los Angeles, CA
Undergraduate University: Columbia University (2009)
Degree and Major: B.A. Economics (minor Sociology)

Pre-MBA Experiences
After graduating, I worked at the Walt Disney Company as an Undergraduate Associate. For the past three years, I did Marketing for Nickelodeon Games Group, where I led several digital and print marketing initiatives. Outside of work, I was the Galas Manager for the Indian Film Festival of LA, for which I planned the Opening and Closing Night Galas, attended by over 1,200 guests, including world renowned actors and filmmakers.

Post-MBA Ambitions
After MIT Sloan, I would like to work in strategy consulting or human-centered design consulting. Long term, I want to work in a social enterprise that uses film and media to bring about social change.

Summer 2014 Internship
This summer, I interned in strategy at Google, particularly helping build YouTube's education strategy.

Interests/Hobbies
Dancing, spending time with family and friends, watching movies, traveling, baking, photography, and extreme sports.

*Hema is one of the Co-Presidents of the MIT Sloan Class of 2015.

 

Alec Bear, MBA '15

abear@mit.edu

Citizenship: United States
Recent Location: Philadelphia, PA
Undergraduate University: The Colorado College
Degree and Major: BA Mathematical Economics

Pre-MBA Experiences
I spent the last five years working on the portfolio team of a boutique investment management company that specializes in high yield bond and micro- to mid-cap equity strategies. Most recently, served as a research analyst covering sub-industries of the Financials, Materials, and Consumer Discretionary sectors, generating investment ideas across both the high yield bond and equity asset classes.

Post-MBA Ambitions
The most rewarding part of my job was engaging with company management teams, exploring strategies to help navigate company business cycles, and developing investment and industry networks along the way. I am primarily focused on getting into management consulting, but also exploring opportunities in corporate finance and investment management. 

Interests/Hobbies
Skiing, fly fishing, soccer, ice hockey, and cooking.

 

Natalie Berfeld, MBA '15

nberfeld@mit.edu

Citizenship: Canada
Recent Location: Boston, MA
Undergraduate University: University of Waterloo
Degree and Major: Bachelor of Mathematics

Pre-MBA Experiences
Before MIT Sloan, I worked in the financial services industry, specifically as an actuary at a large multinational insurance company.

Post-MBA Ambitions
Consulting, risk management, and social impact.

Interests/Hobbies
Baking, traveling, swimming, and squash.

 

Tobias Breme, MBA '15

tobias.breme@sloan.mit.edu

Citizenship: Argentina
Recent Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Undergraduate University: Universidad de San Andrés
Degree and Major: Economics

Pre-MBA Experiences
Prior to joining MIT Sloan, I served as an Engagement Manager at The Mind Co., an innovative Latin American strategy consulting firm that supports Fortune 500 companies around the world.

Post-MBA Ambitions
After my MBA, I'm looking to transition to the energy industry by serving major oil and gas companies from a consulting or business development role.

Summer 2014 Internship
I worked at BCG in Rio de Janeiro in their Oil and Gas practice. Specifically worked in a workforce planning project with ~$200 M in cost optimizations for the a major integrated oil and gas company in the country. During the project I developed forecasting and planning models to execute workforce strategy and measure ongoing productivity.

Interests/Hobbies
Sportsman and ultra-endurance triathlete, avid traveler having visited 40+ countries.

 

Alanna Hughes, MBA '15

ahughes@mit.edu

Citizenship: United States
Recent Location: Dominican Republic and Haiti
Undergraduate University: Georgetown ’08 School of Foreign Service
Degree and Major: B.S. in International Affairs, Regional and Comparative Studies (Latin America and Asia), Certificate in International Development

Pre-MBA Experiences
Dominican Republic Country Director for the New Development Solutions Group. I founded their first Caribbean office and have been designing/implementing their first Dominican models and co-leading models in Haiti since February 2012. We run community enterprise solutions – an NGO that’s invented the “MicroConsignment Model” which assesses which products & technologies could easily improve economic/health/environmental conditions in low income rural & urban communities and train local entrepreneurs to promote & sell these products. We also run Social Entrepreneur Corps, an internship program for undergraduates that operates as a social enterprise (generating revenue we reinvest in the MicroConsignment Model) and exposes young adults to field work in international development/social entrepreneurship firsthand.

Post-MBA Ambitions
I am part of the dual degree with the Harvard Kennedy School (MPA). I’m pretty sure I’m a social entrepreneur at my core, but I may take a crack at the private sector for a bit to hone some skills and pay off some debt before diving off a cliff again (like I did with a safety net under NDSG). Still hoping to get involved in a lot of entrepreneurship activity at MIT Sloan, though!

Summer 2014 Internship
This past summer I interned at Deloitte and was placed on a strategy and business model development case within its new Social Impact Service Line.

Interests/Hobbies
Travel, spending time with friends & family, running/hiking, going out dancing, reading, volunteering, and baking.

*Alanna is also part of the Tech Club leadership team and co-president of Sloan Entrepreneurs for International Development SEID. If you are interested in those areas, feel free to contact her.

 

Gbenga Ige, MBA '15

gige@mit.edu

Citizenship: Nigeria
Recent Location: Columbus, Indiana
Undergraduate University: University of Idaho (Masters); Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria (Bachelors)
Degree and Major: Electrical Engineering

Pre-MBA Experiences
I worked for Cummins Inc. a diesel engine manufacturer. In my last role before MIT Sloan, I led the team that delivered the fuel system software configuration for diesel engines sold in the North American, European, and Asian markets. My role also included the development of algorithms that ensured the engines met government emission regulations. In my free time, I worked with an NGO that provided educational supplies to low income elementary school students and coached U8 and U9 soccer.

Post-MBA Ambitions
Coming into business school, my goal was to diversify my skill set so that I could gain the flexibility to work in different industries and regions of the world. The practical application of these skills will be my highest priority after school and so I cannot say I am limited to any particular industry. I might dabble into entrepreneurship at some point as well.

Summer 2014 Internship
I had two internships this summer. For the first, my projects focused on acquisitions strategy and organizational development for a conglomerate in the United States. I then worked as a Financial Analyst for a startup in Lagos, Nigeria for my second internship.

Interests/Hobbies
Self-professed soccer and Manchester United fanatic. I have tried so many times to learn to play the guitar that “learning to play” is now a hobby. I also enjoy road biking, international politics and cooking.

 

Zachary Levine, MBA '15

zlevine@mit.edu

Citizenship: United States
Recent Location: Houston, Texas
Undergraduate University: University of Pennsylvania
Degree and Major: BA in Mathematics

Pre-MBA Experiences
I spent five years at the Houston Chronicle including three covering the Houston Astros and Major League Baseball as a whole. After the 2012 season and almost 400 games covered from 30 different major league and spring training ballparks, I moved to Baseball Prospectus, where I wrote (and still write) a weekly column focusing on baseball statistics. Most of my practical experience as a writer involved finding places to eat in various U.S. cities after midnight.

Post-MBA Ambitions
While I don't expect to end up back in sports, I've surprised myself before. More likely, it will be data analysis in another sector, and I'm hoping to spend the next two years figuring out exactly where that will be.

Summer 2014 Internship
Worked in casino gaming analytics for MGM Resorts International in Las Vegas. Used statistical methods for fraud detection and revenue maximization on the casino floor.

Interests/Hobbies
Eating, gambling, running, and watching Jeopardy!

 

Sven Linsmaier, MBA '16

slins@mit.edu

Citizenship: Germany
Recent Location: Munich, Germany
Undergraduate University: University Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany), 2010
Degree and Major: Bachelor of Arts in Business

Pre-MBA Experiences
I worked for Siemens Energy for roughly four years (3.5yrs during and 0.5yrs after undergrad). The past three years before business school, I have worked with the Boston Consulting Group across four continents. I have spent most of my time in Germany, Australia, New York, and Singapore in the Energy, Industrial, and Private Equity sectors.

Post-MBA Ambitions
I will get heavily involved in the energy community across MIT during business school and plan to eventually purchase a small organization in the field of energy / clean tech / energy efficiency. Currently, I am looking closer into the concept of search funds and opportunities in private equity.

Interests/Hobbies
Traveling, surfing, basketball.

 

Patrick James O’Brien, MBA '15

patrick.obrien@sloan.mit.edu

Citizenship: United States
Recent Location: Jacksonville, FL
Undergraduate University: College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA
Degree and Major: BA, History, 2004

Pre-MBA Experiences
I came to MIT Sloan directly from serving as a pilot in the U.S. Navy, where I flew anti-submarine planes all around the world. I spent the last few years working in conjunction with the Boeing Company to develop the training programs for the Navy’s newest aircraft.

Post-MBA Ambitions
Consulting, Sustainability, Sports Media/Management.

Interests/Hobbies
Immersing my two young sons in Boston sports, playing hockey, camping around New England, and spending off-time on the South Shore.

 

Laura Schäffer , MBA '16

laschaef@mit.edu

Citizenship: Germany
Recent Location: Berlin, Germany
Undergraduate University: University of Hildesheim, Germany, 2011
Degree and Major: Cultural Studies, Drama and Media

Pre-MBA Experiences
Founder, Artistic and Managing Director of a theater/interactive media company named »machina eX«. We develop interdisciplinary (stage-)productions and games, installations and services and partnered with theaters and media venues in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Poland and the United States. Our goal is to create engaging interactive real-life experiences through creative design and innovative technology solutions.

Post-MBA Ambitions
My main direct post-MBA goal is to gain experience working in a larger company. Following my path of experience I am interested in Design Consulting and R&D/Innovation Strategy in media and high technology industries.

Interests/Hobbies
Dance (from ballet to modern to street dance), video games, piano and scuba diving.

 

Andrea Schneider, MBA '16

andrea.schneider@sloan.mit.edu

Citizenship: United States
Recent Location: Cambridge, MA
Undergraduate University: University of Rhode Island, 2010
Degree and Major: Chemistry

Pre-MBA Experiences
Procter and Gamble (Duracell), Lithium Ion Technology group from 2010-2011, then into the Cambridge start-up scene at an incubator called Soane Labs. I spent 3 years at Soane Labs working for multiple start-ups in material technology development across a variety of industries.

Post-MBA Ambitions
Though I’m still deciding, I’d eventually like to start up a business in the materials science industry or join a venture capital firm. I love working with scientists and being involved with technology transfer.

Interests/Hobbies
I paint watercolors! I also love to swim in the ocean (especially in New England - so refreshing!).

 

Ishai Shvartz, MBA '15

ishaishvartz@gmail.com

Citizenship: Israel
Recent Location: Karmiel, Israel
Undergraduate University: Technion Israel's Institute of Technology
Degree and Major: BSc in Electrical Engineering (2004-2008), MSc in Electrical Engineering (2009-present)

Pre-MBA Experiences
Worked for 7 years as Hardware Developer in the defense industry, last 3 years as Team Leader of 8-10 Engineers.

Post MBA Ambitions
Entrepreneurship and Tech

Interests/Hobbies
Writing poetry and short stories, traveling, soccer, and basketball.

 

Ben Strauss, MBA '16

bstrauss@mit.edu

Citizenship: United States
Recent Location: Astoria, Queens, NY
Undergraduate University: Tufts ’10
Degree and Major: Mathematics

Pre-MBA Experiences
Management Consultant at Diamond Management & Technology Consultants, and then at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Post MBA Ambitions
Finance & Social Impact - working to use private capital to address social sector challenges.

Interests/Hobbies
Ultimate Frisbee, Politics, Hiking, Settlers of Catan

 

Erica Swallow, MBA '15

swallow@mit.edu

Citizenship: United States
Recent Location: Cambridge, MA
Undergraduate University: New York University Leonard N. Stern School of Business
Degree and Major: Bachelors of Science, Marketing and International Business co-major

Pre-MBA Experiences
Prior to MIT Sloan, I served as a technology journalist, writing with national outlets including Forbes, Mashable, and The Huffington Post, and was a marketing strategist at a number of technology startups.

Post MBA Ambitions
While at MIT Sloan, I’m founding Deliverish, a peer-to-peer delivery service which lets users get anything delivered, anytime, anywhere, powered by the people around them. After my MBA, I plan to work on developing my startup full-time.

Summer 2014 Internship
I spent the summer between years one and two of MIT Sloan in venture capital, serving as a summer associate at Boston-based venture capital firm General Catalyst, where I focused on sourcing early-stage deals pertinent to the future of work.

Interests/Hobbies
In my free time, I enjoy discovering new places, wines, and foods.

 

Erica Zendell, MBA '16

erica.zendell@sloan.mit.edu

Citizenship: United States
Recent Location: Boston, MA
Undergraduate University: Princeton University, 2012
Degree and Major: Comparative Literature, minors in Translation and Intercultural Communication, Chinese, and Latin American Studies

Pre-MBA Experiences
My first job out of college was as a Research Associate at Harvard Business School for William C. Kirby, assisting research for his recently-published book, “Can China Lead: Reaching the Limits of Power and Growth,” and writing case studies and teaching notes for his 2nd-year elective course at HBS, "Doing Business in China in the Early 21st Century." In Summer 2013, after surviving a roller-coaster year of health issues caused by celiac disease, I launched a gluten-free, vegan, and allergy-friendly baking company, Zen Cookery. The business has since transitioned to nutrition planning and consulting and homemade healthy food blogging. The summer before Sloan, I worked part-time at the fast-casual salad restaurant chain, sweetgreen, where I gained experience in customer service and operations in a retail context.

Post MBA Ambitions
I’m exploring job opportunities in global strategy and operations in food/beverage companies, consumer products, and technology companies focusing on personal wellness-oriented services and product development. My mission is to help people take better care of themselves wherever they are in the world and am looking at companies that care deeply about the people they serve and do business in a way that aligns with my personal values.

Interests/Hobbies
Blogging, gluten-free cooking, and singing.

 

G-LAB: NAM MEE BOOKS, THAILAND Helping a book publisher mature

“It was really rewarding that they wanted to know what we thought. We left there being fairly certain that they will do some of the things that we suggested.”

Lia Cavalcante
MBA
INDIA LAB: EDUCATIONAL ENHANCEMENT Creating employable workers to boost the economy

“I knew about American business, but not enough about what’s really become a global economy. … You can read about it all you want, but there’s no substitute for being there and seeing the context and seeing how completely different these [other countries] are.”

Ted Chan
MBA
MIT LEADERSHIP CENTER Changing views of leadership

“We are very much an action-learning environment. The way to learn leadership is not only through reading cases, not only through learning theory — in fact we don’t want people to regurgitate the theory. We want people to take theory and to live it, use it.”

Deborah Ancona
Faculty Director, MIT Leadership Center
INSTITUTE FOR WORK AND EMPLOYMENT RESEARCH Adapting to the changing nature of work

“We’re very interdisciplinary. Among the faculty in the group are an economist, a political scientist, a sociologist, and an industrial relations specialist. We’ve always made a big effort to be open to a variety of perspectives, but also to go beyond being open to them, to want to bring them in, because it makes for a richer environment.”

Thomas Kochan
Co-director, IWER
G-LAB: MERCY CORPS, INDONESIA Using business principles to address malnutrition

“The conditions in the neighborhoods we were visiting were different than what we realized before getting there. Beyond that, what was surprising was that there weren’t surprises!”

Libby Putman
MBA
SLOAN FELLOW Getting serious about going global
"I had interviews and visited other business schools, and it’s nothing like the environment that we have here at MIT Sloan."
Abner Oliviera
SF
G-LAB: WARMBATHS HOSPITAL, SOUTH AFRICA Improving staffing at a maternity ward

“I can honestly say that when I was planning on coming to business school I never thought that witnessing the birth of a child would be included in the education. It was definitely an experience.”

Kelsey McCarty
MBA
G-LAB, RAS RESORT, INDIA Marketing in Mumbai
"The project was really interesting because the scope changed a lot. We started focusing in one goal, then we changed to another, then we changed to another, all before we even left Cambridge."
Gerardo Guzman
MBA
G-LAB: PRIVATE HEALTH CARE IN AFRICA Defining growth at a for-profit clinic

“At MIT Sloan you have a lot of opportunities to explore entrepreneurship. Especially in a place like Kampala where you have a lot of development, entrepreneurship can be very exciting.”

Anne Reilly
MBA
COURAGE AND STRENGTH Supporting a student with breast cancer
"The Sloan community really rallied around me in a way that I totally didn’t anticipate. … It was just really nice to be a part of a community that I was totally comfortable in and felt completely supported by."
Kyle Maner
MBA
SWITZER FELLOWSHIP WINNER JASON JAY Focusing on environmental research and leadership

 “I love being in a place that is such a nexus of people and ideas — people coming to learn something new and to define themselves. Being a part of that process is a real honor and a real gift.”

Jason Jay
Lecturer, Sustainability, MIT Sloan
G-LAB: INTERGRUPO, COLOMBIA Growing a business by cultivating relationships

"The relationships that we forged helped us to turn out a better project. We were able to test our hypotheses with the people that we spoke with every single day. And really, I think the friendships that you develop really propel the work that you’re doing."

Ramy Hakim
MBA
$100K WINNERS: C-CRETE TECHNOLOGIES Reducing the environmental impact of concrete

“One of the reasons I came to Sloan was because I wanted to be at a top MBA institution worldwide. But I also wanted access to working with the latest innovations and the highest technology that was coming out of the MIT labs.”

Natanel Barookhian
MBA
SLOAN FELLOW Merging disciplines for climate change
"I needed to get a better understanding of the interaction of management and technology. And I think MIT is an obvious place for that. There’s probably no better place in the world [for learning] how technology and management interact."
Pascal Marmier
SF
G-LAB: AIDS IN TANZANIA Striving for economic empowerment

“Because of the diversity of our backgrounds, when we hit the ground in Tanzania it almost was a natural play where different people assume different roles.”

Krishna Venugopalan
SF
CENTER FOR INFORMATION SYSTEMS RESEARCH Bringing people and machines together

 “For 35 years, we’ve been studying how companies get value from information. … We try to help organizations take a more holistic view of what they are trying to do.”

Jeanne W. Ross
Director and Principal Research Scientist, CISR
S-LAB: JAKARTA WATERSHED Combating a clean water crisis

“You could talk about watershed management and conservation of energy all you want. But until you put numbers to it and financial analysis to it, you’re not going to get much done. I came to business school to speak that language, speak with people in terms of numbers, financial numbers so that I can get projects done.”

Ian Lavery
MBA
INDIA LAB: BANGALORE Working toward market expansion

“[The India Lab] program is one of the reasons I came to Sloan. ... The hands-on learning that MIT offers was a huge differentiator.”

Katie Baron
MBA
G-LAB, KUALA LUMPUR Assessing the future of the Smart Card
"You have to manage what you can deliver for the company and what the company is expecting. The bottom line is that the CEOs of those companies want results. Even though we have to work five months in a row with the project, we have to deliver. This experience is more pragmatic than academic. It's a good opportunity to match those two worlds."
Camilo Syllos
MBA
RETAIL AND CONSUMER GOODS Luxury beauty and the multicultural consumer
"The goal of the Retail and Consumer Goods Club is to provide networking opportunities for students at MIT Sloan, and to educate students about different functions within the retail and CPG space. We bring in executive-level speakers to educate our community on this topic."
Nga Phan
MBA, co-president of Retail and Consumer Goods Club
LEADERS FOR GLOBAL OPERATIONS Connecting management and technology
“[LGO students] get the advantage of a small cohort. But they’re also part of the larger community. They’re part of MIT, of MIT Sloan, of the MBA program. They’re part of the core program that meets every fall, they’re part of the engineering committee; they get the benefits of both the larger community and the small cohort.”
Don Rosenfield
senior lecturer and director of the Leaders for Global Operations

“It’s been great so far. I love living here. I love my work every day, and the people I work with.”

- Josh Ackerman
Assistant Professor of Marketing